The Rat Genome Database RGD is very pleased to announce the release of mRatBN7.1, the new rat genome assembly! The mRatBN7 assembly, generated by the Darwin Tree of Life Project at the Wellcome Sanger Institute, is significantly improved over the Rnor6.0 and previous assemblies. mRatBN7 was derived from a male BN/NHsdMcwi rat that is a direct descendent from the female BN rat previously sequenced. The new BN rat reference genome was generated using multiple technologies including PacBio long reads, 10X linked reads, Bionano maps and Arima Hi-C. Its quality is a substantial improvement compared to any of the previous assemblies, with just 175 scaffolds and having an N50 >135Mb and 756 contigs with N50 >29Mb, resulting in a contiguity similar to the human or mouse reference assemblies. The assembly has been submitted to the International Nucleotide Sequence Database Consortium (INSDC), and the initial GenBank record for it is now available at https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/assembly/GCA_015227675.1. Genome annotation, i.e. the assignment of gene positions and prediction of new genes and other genomic elements, will be generated by both NCBI and Ensembl. We are also pleased to announce that Rat and the mRatBN7 assembly have been accepted into the Genome Reference Consortium (GRC) and the RGD has been approved to represent the rat research community and participate in the ongoing work of curating the assembly. RGD will work closely with curators from the GRC, with the International Rat Omics Consortium (IROC), a grassroots community of rat genomics researchers, and the rat research community to identify any candidate regions for focused genome curation. Stay tuned for the appearance of rat on the GRC website!